About this event
Transformer is pleased to present Commemorative Strands, an exhibition featuring textiles, photography, and video art by Artise Fletcher in her first solo exhibition. Commemorative Strands will explore the sociological meanings and issues surrounding hair, especially in Black culture, through the presentation of large tapestries that are the artists’ reimagined versions of commemorative cloths using synthetic Kanekalon hair, along with photographs and projected video works.
Fletcher’s inspiration stems from her recent research on textile artists in different African countries as well as from the woman weavers of Chinchero, Peru, in which textiles are used as a form of expression, especially for marginalized voices. These various commemorative clothes commonly feature intricate patterns, symbolic colors, and photographic imagery that, especially in African fabric prints, honor individuals, political figures, occasions, and more.
In Commemorative Strands, Fletcher is reinterpreting these traditional cloths to highlight individual stories of Black women’s personal journeys and relationships with hair using Kanekalon hair, a synthetic hair composed of fine plastic fibers created in various colors. In depicting modern subjects in her commemorative cloths, Fletcher investigates the history of Black hairstyles and the societal conventions of beauty, and generates contemporary conversations about the various sociopolitical implications that hair has.
Commemorative Strands includes several public programs that will raise public awareness about the nuanced conversations surrounding hair, including a workshop that encourages visitors to reflect upon their personal experiences with hair, and a panel exploring the connections between health and hair.
Commemorative Strands is Transformer’s 19th Annual DC Artist Solo Exhibition, continuing our commitment to highlight the work of exceptional DC-based emerging artists through solo exhibition platforms.
Sat., September 17, 4–6pm: Opening Reception
Tues., September 20, 6pm: Artist Talk. Tune into @transformerdc to hear Artise Fletcher in conversation with Katie Lee, Transformer’s Exhibitions and Programs Manager, as they discuss Fletcher’s multidisciplinary practice, as well as conceptual and material elements of the exhibition.
Sat., October 1, 2–4pm: Strengthening Our Bond Workshop. Create your own mini-commemorative cloth by designing a symbol to reflect your personal interests and experience related to hair. At Transformer from 2–4pm.
Wed., October 12, 6–8pm: Framework Panel #31. A panel exploring the sociopolitical implications of hair from an artistic lens. This diverse group of panelists have various backgrounds in hair. Together they will unpack the societal expectations and beliefs about Black women’s hair, discuss the connection between hair and health, the intersection of sustainability and hair, and the ways in which hair is politicized and weaponized. Presented via Zoom.